Cornelius Town Board to Consider Changes to Land Use Plan Update

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Shortly after Chuck Travis is sworn in tonight as the Mayor of Cornelius, he and the incoming Town Board will discuss proposed amendments to a Land Use Plan update that will guide development for the next decade in the north Mecklenburg municipality.

The Town’s Planning Board has spent months working with Planning Director Wayne Herron and outside consultant Clarion & Associates to update the Land Use Plan, which was first adopted in 1999. Some of the key changes under consideration include:

  • Reducing the size of the Waterfront Mixed Use district along West Catawba Avenue, and returning the Cashion property at U.S. 21 and Washam Potts Road to Medium Density Residential.
  • Along Bailey Road, staff is returning to its original recommendation of Medium Density near the schools and parks and further added some Low Density Single Family just below the High School.
  • The area along Mayes Road at Highway 73 is recommended to be Low Density Single Family.
  • Allowing for increased residential densities in the geography east of NC 115, where 5-acre minimum lot sizes are now required. The update draft calls for those minimum lot sizes to drop to 2 acres (0.5 upa), a slight improvement over the original proposal for 2.5-acre minimum lot sizes. REBIC believes this is still far too little density for an area where sewer infrastructure is currently being extended.
  • Promoting the development of a mixed-use, village center-type development at the site of the failed Augustalee project on Westmoreland Rd.
  • Replacing the current ‘Single Family’ zoning category with two new categories for ‘Low Density Single Family’ (1 – 3 upa) and ‘Medium Density Residential’ (3+ upa).

The Town Board will meet at 7 p.m. tonight at Cornelius Town Hall, 21445 Catawba Ave. A third public hearing on the plan will be scheduled for Monday, December 16th, and the Board will likely vote on adoption of the document that night, as well. Any Realtors®, home builders or developers who are currently doing business in the Town of Cornelius are strongly encouraged to attend that evening and make their voice heard!

To see the other changes to the draft Land Use Plan, click HERE. For a downloadable map of the updated Land Use Plan, click HERE.

Town of Matthews Holding Public Hearing Monday Night on Unified Development Ordinance

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The Town of Matthews is in the process of bringing together all of its land use regulations into one comprehensive document. The Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) combines zoning and subdivision regulations, with stormwater codes, minimum housing provisions, and flood prevention regulations. A draft of the document may be found HERE.

REBIC staff is in the process of reviewing the document and will provide comments to the Town Council at the initial public hearing on Monday, October 14th at 7:00 p.m.

We we support the concept of the UDO, we have concerns with some of the language in the draft, particularly in the section regulating signage. However, from discussions we have had over the past few months with the Mayor and members of Council, we are hopeful that the Town will consider adopting a new program allowing Weekend Directional Signs (WEDS) for home builders in conjunction with the UDO.

The UDO is expected to come up for a vote in November, with implementation set for January 2015. In addition to consolidating the Town’s existing zoning and development language in a single document, it also creates a number of “conditional-only” zoning districts that would more easily accommodate a mix of uses and home styles. Zoning to one of these districts would be voluntary on the part of the property owner or developer, and would require compliance with street layout and non-residential building design standards established in the code.

We would very much appreciate your thoughts on the draft UDO so we may assist in communicating your concerns to Council and staff as the process plays out. If you have any input, questions, or concerns, please contact Rob Nanfelt, REBIC Government Affairs Manager, rob.nanfelt@rebic.com or (720) 771-3825. You are also encouraged to attend Monday night’s public hearing to share your thoughts with Council.

Help Create a Vision for Mecklenburg County’s Future at Thursday’s CONNECT Community Growth Workshop

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Mecklenburg County residents will have an opportunity this month to help create a vision for how their community will grow, by participating in a two-hour workshop hosted by the CONNECT Our Future regional planning initiative. Working in collaboration with other local stakeholders, residents will use a map to create a growth strategy for new housing, public parks, transportation infrastructure, and the preferred locations for future office, retail and industrial development.

From the ideas shared at each workshop, four or five possible scenarios will be created for the growth of the Charlotte Region will be. While none of these planning scenarios will be binding on local governments, they’ll help inform elected officials and policymakers about the type of growth residents would like to see in their community.

For home builders, Realtors® and commercial developers, the workshops are a rare opportunity to help shape the growth vision that policymakers will adopt in the months ahead. In the spring and summer of 2014, residents will be asked to choose a growth scenario from those developed in the workshops, from a low-density approach to one that concentrates new growth in corridors or activity centers.

Hundreds of Mecklenburg County residents have participated in other CONNECT Our Future events including open houses, and RealityCheck 2050, a day-long visioning session. CONNECT Our Future effort is funded by a grant from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Mecklenburg Central
Thursday, October 24th
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Mahlon Adams Pavilion – Freedom Park
2435 Cumberland Ave
Charlotte, NC 28203

REBIC & Realtors® Support Education Bond Referendum. Here’s Why YOU Should, Too

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On Tuesday, November 5th, Mecklenburg County voters will be asked to approve a bond package consisting of $290 million for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) and $210 million for Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC).

CMS will use the money to fund 17 projects that will relieve overcrowding, offer more academic options for students, and renovate, replace and improve existing facilities. CPCC’s portion will fund ten projects that will expand and modernize its facilities, provide technical training space, and add instructional classrooms and labs.

REBIC and the Charlotte Regional REALTOR® Association support the bond referendum as an essential way to raise much-needed capital that CMS and CPCC need to keep pace with Mecklenburg County’s growth. We recognize that a strong public school system forms the backbone of a cohesive, forward-thinking community.

When we invest in schools, we create stable neighborhoods, which in turn attract businesses and talent to our area. When we attract more business our economy grows and the entire community benefits from a higher quality of life.
A few commonly asked questions about the Referendum are:

Q: If the bonds win approval, will my tax rate increase as a result?

A: No. There will be no tax rate increase related to this bond vote. The Mecklenburg County finance office has stated that current county revenue projections indicate a tax increase will not be needed to fund the projects in the CMS and CPCC bond packages if approved by voters.
Q: How were the 2013 school bond projects chosen?

A: CMS and CPCC staff considered a range of factors including school capacity, facility condition indices, project type, new program needs, and health and safety impacts. Mecklenburg County staff put these factors into a matrix, which ultimately awarded each project a priority score. The entire list of capital needs was then ranked by score. The highest scoring projects are included in the bond request.
Q: Will the 2013 bonds request cover all CMS and CPCC construction and renovation needs?

A: No. The 2013 bond request will only cover 17 of CMS’ most pressing capital projects and 10 of CPCC’s. CMS’ $290 million request is only part of the district’s $1.8 billion 10-year capital need. CPCC’s $210 million request is only part of the college’s projected facility needs of $430 million.

Q: Can bond money be used to pay teacher salaries or other operating expenses?

A: No. By law, bond funds cannot be used to pay for teacher salaries or any other operating expenses. Bond funds can only be used for capital projects. That said, the needs of our students, families and community are real. Satisfying those needs requires bond funding to support the many capital needs of the district as well as operating funding to support the increasing operating needs of the district including pay raises for teachers. It’s not one or the other – it’s one AND the other.
Q: Voters approved school bonds in 2007. Why does the county need more money now?

A: The 2007 school bonds will be fully expended approximately within the next 18 months. The bonds on this year’s ballot are designated for an entirely new and different list of projects that will need to happen over the next several years.

We ask you to get to the polls on Tuesday, November 5th and VOTE YES on the referendum. Your vote will help fund the education capital improvements that Mecklenburg County needs to remain an attractive place to live and work.

If you would like a FREE Bond Referendum Yard Sign, stop by the Realtor® Store at 1201 Greenwood Cliff TODAY!!


To learn more about the bond referendum and associated capital projects, please visit www.VoteYesForBonds.com.

 

What the Government Shutdown Means for Home Builders & Realtors®

US Capitol 2With the federal government shutdown now entering its second full week, business owners around the nation are assessing the impact that the standoff in D.C. might have on their companies. For home builders, Realtors® and other real estate professionals, the effects may be felt in a variety of ways — and could worsen the longer the shutdown goes on.

NAHB Chairman and Charlotte home builder Rick Judson sent out a detailed message to all members on Oct. 1 explaining some of the ways that the federal government shutdown could impact home builders and their associates going forward. While in most cases the short-run impacts will be minor, a long-run shutdown — lasting several weeks or a month or more — could have significant impacts on mortgage accessibility and reduce housing demand. And over the coming weeks, the shutdown could merge with the issue of raising the debt ceiling, which could have very significant impacts on interest rates, as well as monetary and fiscal policy.

Here is a quick rundown of need-to-know information regarding the status of key government housing programs during the shutdown:

HUD

  • FHA-insured single-family loans will continue to be endorsed in the near term, although some delays in processing and closing should be expected.
  • FHA multifamily insured projects with firm commitments and scheduled closings may go forward, although no new firm commitments will be issued.
  • Section 8 Project Based Rental Assistance Contracts, rent supplement, Section 236, and PRACs with permanent or indefinite authority or multi-year funding will have payments made from budget authority available from prior appropriations or recaptures.
  • No Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) inspections can take place.
  • CDBG, HOME and other block grant funds will be dispersed in cases where failure to address issues result in a threat to safety of life and protection of property.
  • Authorized drawdowns for approved CPD program activities (homeless assistance programs, CDBG, HOME, HOPWA) using pre-FY2014 program funds will continue uninterrupted unless it is necessary for a HUD employee to approve a voucher or lift a system edit prior to a draw down.

Department of Agriculture

  • Most Rural Development programs will not operate while the shutdown continues.
  • The Section 521 Rental Assistance, Section 542 Rural Housing Vouchers, and Single Family Section 502 Guaranteed Loans will continue until funding is exhausted.
  • A shutdown of more than two weeks is likely to have a significant impact on rural development programs.

Department of Homeland Security

  • E-Verify, the Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the U.S., is unavailable due to the government shutdown. While E-Verify is unavailable, employers will not be able to access their E-Verify accounts. Details on how this could impact your company’s operations can be found here.

Small Business Administration

  • The SBA will not initiate new loan guarantees during the shutdown.

OSHA

  • With the exception of “imminent danger” to life or property and other emergency situations, OSHA’s investigation and enforcement activities will cease during the shutdown.

Department of the Interior

  • Businesses who seek permits from the Fish and Wildlife Service could be affected. New permits or applications currently under review will not be processed during the government shutdown, which will increase costs and delays.

EPA

  • Since state agencies in North and South Carolina are authorized to review and issue National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) storm water permits under the federal Clean Water Act, no delays should be experienced.
  • The Energy Star program is shut down until further notice and the processing of all partner applications and partner inquiries has been put on hold. Updates to Energy Star qualified product lists and release of draft Energy Star specifications will also be delayed.

Internal Revenue Service

  • Some lenders require home borrowers to file IRS form 4506-T to verify the mortgage applicant’s income and Social Security number. With the IRS shut down, this could result in major delays in some mortgage application approvals.

Economic Data

  • Due to the shutdown, the August Census construction spending report was not published. The important monthly jobs report for September from BLS is unlikely to be published. And future reports on items like housing starts and new home sales could also be postponed.

Source: National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)